The Chinese like every other culture have their own etiquette and this also is applicable in the workplace. You will be given leeway by your employers and colleagues as they will be aware of the potential cultural differences and will not expect you to fit in perfectly with the local ways, at least not in the first few months.
It is a good idea to get to know about the culture and etiquette to limit the number of blunders you will possibly commit.
The first step in experiencing the work culture of the Chinese is the job interview. And while the process will be mostly the same in all major Chinese companies, it’s good to keep a few things in mind.
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- Punctuality: Being late is something the Chinese really frown upon and it is in your best interest to arrive at your potential employer’s office at least 15 minutes before the appointment time. There is sometimes busy traffic in Chinese cities and the addresses can also be quite difficult to find.
- Modesty: Modesty is also an important aspect of Chinese culture. Therefore, when talking about your professional qualifications and experience, it is best to not be pompous and let your CV speak.
- Typical questions: The typical questions you may be asked during the interview may include personal matters which relate to your family life and maybe housing situation. The reason sometimes is to determine your seriousness and how long you may be staying in China.
- Hierarchy: Workplace rank is more pronounced in Chinese companies than in western ones and a particular code of conduct is requested when interacting with your managers, supervisors, department head, etc.
- Dress code: There are no dress code rules defined in a work contract in China unless it has been specified otherwise. Just observe what your colleagues are wearing daily and not wear anything too revealing.
- Meetings: Interaction and communication predominate in a Chinese workplace setting which means that frequent inter and intra department meetings and gatherings will happen.
- Lunchtime: Lunchtime is an important aspect of a Chinese workplace and it can last from one to two hours. After lunch, most of your Chinese colleagues will probably take a nap which is a typical part of the lunch break. If you are not taking a nap after lunch, make sure you are not making noise or disturbing your sleeping colleagues.
- Working hours: Although your working hours will be stated in the contract, it is common for most employees to stay in the office a bit later. If you leave right after closing, it can be looked down upon by your colleagues and superiors.
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